Date of Award

Spring April 2015

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Debra Linesch


This research examines the impact of acculturation and immigration through the lived experience of first, second, and third generation Hispanic/Latina clinical art therapists. The objectives include the exploration of cultural identity, processing the immigration experience and the role of art therapy. Topics that emerge in the general literature include development of identity, depression, and immigration-related stressors. Although the art therapy literature is limited within the context of immigration and acculturation, information regarding the role of the art, common imagery in groups, and the importance of cultural awareness is available. An arts-based approach is used in the clinical work to help inform each researcher’s acculturation and immigration experience. Through the clinical modality, each researcher processed their immigration story. Themes of sense of identity, family, tension/struggle and choice of materials arise in the findings. The meanings, for each participant vary, encompassing the differences in each of the immigration and acculturation experiences. The results expose the variety of issues encountered when working with immigrant and acculturated Hispanic/Latino/Latina individuals. The findings include the impact of identity, mental health issues and immigration-related stressors.